Students visit colleges over spring break

By Maebelle Hamlin, Staff Reporter

In the midst of a pandemic, students are continuing to make plans for the future.  

Though many of the experiences have changed, seniors are still using their two days off for college visits despite COVID-19.

“It was worth the risk for me,” senior Giovanni Ventello, who visited Loyola University New Orleans and Belmont University said. “My parents are both educators and were fully vaccinated before the trip and I got tested when we returned as a precaution, but we kept our exposure as low as possible.”

Finding the right feeling in a school can be hard enough, and some find that commonly offered virtual tours just don’t cut it.

“Just logging on to like the school’s website and looking at pictures, you know they always want to sell their community and sell their school to you,” LHS counselor Kelsey Buek said. “But really until you go visit that school and see what they have to offer, and I always say, talk to students that are going there, until you do that, I just don’t think you can really get a good feel.”

Many tours have gone virtual this year, however some still find traditional in-person tours to be best.

“I want to go to school for recorded audio, specifically for music,” Ventello said, “so this sounds kind of corny but the creative environment and general feel of the campus are extremely important to me. Stuff like that is difficult to feel online.”

Generally, school counselors put a heavy focus on helping students with their college decisions. This year, however, giving that assistance has been a difficult feat.

“I think the disconnect this year, especially for our juniors, has made it hard to decide, ‘Am I going to college? What am I really going to do?’” counselor Amy Brown said. “So I think that’s just made it hard for a lot of our students. I feel like because we can’t emphasize [college visits], I feel like they don’t emphasize it.”

Now in the spring semester, many students are feeling over extenuated, leading to a communication failure.

“I think that a lot of the students are very overwhelmed because you’re looking at a computer screen for seven-plus hours a day,” Buek said. “So when we reach out to request a meeting it’s overlooked because they just can’t have any more screen time.”

There’s a wide range of students that apply to college, there are those that don’t want any help from counselors and there are students that take advantage of the resources more.

“I also think there’s parents who think it’s my job to make sure their kid does get into college and does everything they’re supposed to do to get into college and choose a major and make sure that they graduate college,” counselor Jennifer Hare said. “So sometimes there’s a misconception there, it’s our job to make sure that everybody finds the college they want, and we can get info but we’re not meant to be there for your whole life.”

Finding the right colleges is a big part of the visitation process, and it’s a part that isn’t easy for everyone.

“I think that you should focus on colleges that are going to benefit you best and go visit those,” Brown said.